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Clare Tunes

anglo c/gcounty clare session tunes

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#1 Halifax

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 12:57 PM

Hey all:

 

What are your favourite tunes from Clare? Extra points for two or more that go together. I'm currently working on the Hare's Paw and the Dairy Maid reels---those are pretty fun.

 

Thanks!



#2 WesleyMann

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 07:56 PM

The fair haired boy, scatter the mud and the legacy jig is a great set of Clare jigs.

#3 Bob Michel

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 03:58 AM

Kevin Crehan's wonderful fiddle CD "An Bhábóg sa Bhádóg" (now apparently back in print; it's listed at Custys) would be one great source: it's a compendium of tunes written by or associated with Kevin's grandfather Junior Crehan, including the "Four Stacks," "The Mist-Covered Mountain," "The Hills of Coore," "The Otter's Holt," etc. Mary McNamara's recordings have some lovely sets for concertina: try "John Naughton's" and "The Reel with the Birl," or "The Humours of Tullycrine" and "Mickey Callaghan's Fancy," both from "Traditional Music from East Clare." A lot of Mary's sets (and settings) are drawn from the classic 1959 LP by Paddy Canny, P.J. Hayes, Peadar O'Loughlin and Bridie Lafferty which Shanachie rereleased as "An Historic Recording Of Irish Traditional Music." That album would be a perfect starting point for learning sets of Clare tunes.

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#4 Peter Laban

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 10:55 AM

That album would be a perfect starting point for learning sets of Clare tunes.

 

They're tunes played by Clare players, not sure they are Clare tunes for that reason alone. It's a bit of a nebulous concept.


Edited by Peter Laban, 31 May 2017 - 11:54 AM.


#5 Bob Michel

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 12:51 PM

They're tunes played by Clare players, not sure they are Clare tunes for that reason alone. It's a bit of a nebulous concept.


Point taken. But if by "tunes from Clare" the OP means 1) some core repertoire associated with that district and 2) the elements of one distinctive regional approach to playing it, that collection, among others, would surely spring to mind.

Bob Michel
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Edited by Bob Michel, 31 May 2017 - 12:53 PM.


#6 Peter Laban

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 01:17 PM

Distribution of tunes is often much more complex than a label like 'Clare music' would suggest. There are ofcourse bodies of tunes that are distinctly associated with a specific place, often because they survived in the memory of an influential player,  but even then there are a lot of different factors involved. 

 

It's interesting stuff to think about though but perhaps it's better not to divert this thread by nitpicking through the nuts and bolts. So I better leave it at that.

 

I'd suggest looking at the archive recordings at Clare library website and look up some of the music there. John Naughton had some lovely and rare tunes for example, I'd recommended giving him a look, but many others there as well. 


Edited by Peter Laban, 31 May 2017 - 01:21 PM.


#7 Jody Kruskal

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 12:08 AM

I've been playing a raft of Irish jigs recently for my sword dance team, Half Moon Sword, but I've no idea if they are from Clare or not. Road to Donneybrook, Hag's Purse, Rambling Pitchfork, Walls of Liscarrol, The Frost is all Over, The Joy of My Life, Hardiman's Fancy, Atholl Highlander's, Jig of Slurs. All great fun!


Edited by Jody Kruskal, 02 June 2017 - 12:09 AM.


#8 RAc

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 10:26 AM

I'm not a big fan of Irish music, but this band from Co Clare has sort of blown me off my feet:

 

http://www.socksinth...ngpan.com/band/

 

Look them up in Youtube, still fairly young lads, but excellent musicians and a great combo. They play both traditional music and own compositions.



#9 Halifax

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 07:18 PM

The fair haired boy, scatter the mud and the legacy jig is a great set of Clare jigs.

Thank you, WesleyMann! I will add them to my spreadsheet. I needed some more jigs to round out my list of reels.

cdm



#10 Halifax

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 07:20 PM

Kevin Crehan's wonderful fiddle CD "An Bhábóg sa Bhádóg" (now apparently back in print; it's listed at Custys) would be one great source: it's a compendium of tunes written by or associated with Kevin's grandfather Junior Crehan, including the "Four Stacks," "The Mist-Covered Mountain," "The Hills of Coore," "The Otter's Holt," etc. Mary McNamara's recordings have some lovely sets for concertina: try "John Naughton's" and "The Reel with the Birl," or "The Humours of Tullycrine" and "Mickey Callaghan's Fancy," both from "Traditional Music from East Clare." A lot of Mary's sets (and settings) are drawn from the classic 1959 LP by Paddy Canny, P.J. Hayes, Peadar O'Loughlin and Bridie Lafferty which Shanachie rereleased as "An Historic Recording Of Irish Traditional Music." That album would be a perfect starting point for learning sets of Clare tunes.

Bob Michel
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Thank you, Bob. This is a really good list. Seems like these tunes would give me an education in the sound of Clare, for sure. I appreciate your thoughtful response.

cdm



#11 Halifax

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 07:26 PM

Distribution of tunes is often much more complex than a label like 'Clare music' would suggest. There are ofcourse bodies of tunes that are distinctly associated with a specific place, often because they survived in the memory of an influential player,  but even then there are a lot of different factors involved. 

 

It's interesting stuff to think about though but perhaps it's better not to divert this thread by nitpicking through the nuts and bolts. So I better leave it at that.

 

I'd suggest looking at the archive recordings at Clare library website and look up some of the music there. John Naughton had some lovely and rare tunes for example, I'd recommended giving him a look, but many others there as well. 

Peter, I've been dipping into the Clare library website, it's a treasure trove for sure.

And yes, while I'm happy to nitpick (I'm an editor by profession), I am, I suppose, looking for some of the classics. For instance, a friend recommended the Hare's Paw reel and every time she mentions it, she calls it "a good Clare tune." I thought, as a beginner, that I might try to learn to play in the Clare style, even though, as you mention, each region and even player develops his or her own style.

Thanks for the response. I'm happy to hear more about nuts and bolts, if you are inclined to muse...

cdm



#12 Halifax

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 07:36 PM

I'm not a big fan of Irish music, but this band from Co Clare has sort of blown me off my feet:

 

http://www.socksinth...ngpan.com/band/

 

Look them up in Youtube, still fairly young lads, but excellent musicians and a great combo. They play both traditional music and own compositions.

Oh yeah. Good stuff there! Thank you.



#13 Halifax

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 07:37 PM

I've been playing a raft of Irish jigs recently for my sword dance team, Half Moon Sword, but I've no idea if they are from Clare or not. Road to Donneybrook, Hag's Purse, Rambling Pitchfork, Walls of Liscarrol, The Frost is all Over, The Joy of My Life, Hardiman's Fancy, Atholl Highlander's, Jig of Slurs. All great fun!

As I mentioned, I can always use some good jigs. Thanks, Jody!

cdm



#14 Peter Laban

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 02:06 AM

the Hare's Paw reel and every time she mentions it, she calls it "a good Clare tune."

I don't know, even if it's played here (I thin kI got it off a Padraig O'Keeffe recording). There are certain tunes associated with the older generation that were just the popular tunes of the day, all over the country. Same for tunes like the Dairy Maid you mentioned, Michael Coleman recorded it during his final recording session, Joe Cooley played it (and very lovely too) so a good tune but a Clare tune? I don't think the label is particularly helpful and you're probably better off looking into the various styles of players in the county.

That said, I mentioned bodies of tunes associated with certain areas, perhaps tunes that survived in the memory of certain players that became associated with their particular location, perhaps otherwise. Anyhow, I mentioned John Naughton, who had a repertoire like that, John Kelly had tunes that are (through him I suppose) are strongly associated with the area he came from, tunes like Scattery Island, Elisabeth Kelly's, Thomas Keane's and the ones he played on his concertina but had no name for (a few called 'John Kelly's concertina reel' for that reason), the Russells (and people from their circle, the Killourhys for example) had a body of local (versions of) tunes and if you want a really local repertoire, they would be the ones to look at, in addition to the Crehans Bob already mentioned.

But it's hard to apply that label to tunes, musicians are always trying to get the edge by learning tunes others may not have and will often have a surprising number of 'new' tunes alongside the repertoire that may have been handed down to them. That's the reason I baulked a bit at the Paddy Canny, Peter O'Loughlin et al recommendation. You would be hard pressed to find a nicer recording but the inclusion of Ed Reavey , Seán Ryan and other modern tunes would make me question the 'Clare tunes' labelling. Can't beat it for style though.

We used to visit one of the great East Clare musicians (Mr Woooff will attest to that), Martin Rochford. Between Rochford and Canny you probably have a large part of the origins of what is now perceived as 'the' East Clare style sown up. Martin had a lovely repertoire of unusual tunes from the old local players reaching back into the late 19th century (Johnny Allen, Pat Canny and Pat McNamara, Paddy Poole etc) but at some point I realised over half the tunes he often played for us were compositions by his contemporaries and the generation after that, Junior Crehan, Paddy O Brien, Séan Ryan, Paddy Fahey, Larry Redican, Ed Reavey and many others all contributed to what some people considered a 'local repertoire'.

That opened my eyes to a few things. And Rochford (and many like him) would actively pursue new tunes. There was one instance where arrived at Geoff Wooff's house. I happened to be in the other room playing a tune I had just learned, a composition by Kerry accordion player John Brosnan. Martin didn't know it and wanted it and pushed the matter until I wrote it down for him.

Years later I mentioned that story to Bill Ochs. Bill immediately came out with a similar experience of Rochford's tune foraging. During the late seventies he was staying with a mutual friend, Ronnie Wathen, who was based in East Clare at the time. One night in Feakle, Bill played a tune on the whistle he had learned from a Boys of the Lough recording, the Killarney Boys of Pleasure. The next day Rochford arrived on their doorstep and wouldn't leave until he had that tune. He left happy and took the tune up on the pipes at first, playing it in the key Bill had it, ending on A, but later putting it on the fiddle in the lower key, ending on e. He passed it on to Canny. You can find the tune on the Mary MacNamara recording recommended above, part of the Humours of Castlefin/Glen of Aherlow/Killarney Boys of pleasure set. Many would call that a typical set of old Clare tunes. A tune brought to Clare by Séan Reid, form his homeplace Castlefin in Donegal, A Séan Ryan composition and a Boys if the Lough tune brought in by a whistlplayer (and piper) from New York.

And for that reason, I smile a bit sometimes when 'Clare' tunes get mentioned. Tunes aren't always as deeply rooted as some would suggest, it's all in the way you approach your music, the style and the language, and a bit of time.

I was thinking about this thread the other day, there were some tunes I used to play with Kitty Hayes that would perhaps fit the bill, jigs like The Hole in the Boat (there's a whole group of tunes that are developments of the air Anachuin: Hole in the Boat, the Sheep in the boat, the Killaloe Boat etc and they'd all work in this context), Winnie Hayes' (although perhaps realise the 'low' version has only come into fashion in the last decade or so) , there's a nice simple version of the Cliffs of Moher we played (Kitty had it but I was never sure it was an old version she had or one she had recently learned off the radio from a Martin Hayes recording. I think the latter actually). I like An Boithrin Cam, that Junior and Tony Crehan used to play. Anthony Frawley's is a nice one too. The Sporting Pitchfork, from the repertoire of Patrick Kelly. The Haunted house is a nice jig with a touch of the Hare's Paw about it, Vincent Broderick though it up though. As for reels, Devanney's Goat has been a popular one for the last ten years or so, it suits. Was also composed by an East Galway man though. The Virgina seems well rooted, even if the title suggests its home is in Co Cavan rather than Clare. The old Kilfenora band and some lovely ones as well, and the Tulla ofcourse. There are so many nice tunes it's hard to know where to start.

Tunes like that suit the style (I believe) you're looking for well. We played the Hare's Paw as well, and the Dairy Maid see here). The Abbey reel in that one will work as well, even though it was introduced by a classical musician for his ensemble peformances in the theatre mentioned in the title (and I suspect US fiddler Larry Redican may have had a hand in that one as well, further up the line).

I'll leave it at that. Need coffee, stop rambling on. Good Luck.

Edited by Peter Laban, 04 June 2017 - 12:57 AM.


#15 Peter Laban

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 02:16 AM

Here are a few old tunes, three of John Naughton's reels taken from various recordings of his playing, I have no names for them. Very simple and effective:

T:John Naughton's
M:4/4
L:1/8
R:Reel
K:Edor
B2 BA Beed|B2 AG FDFA|B2 BA Beed|1 BdAG FDFA:|2 BdAG FDDe||!
fede fdde|fede fbba|fede fddB|ABde fdde|!
fede fd d2|fede fbba|fgef dedB|ABde fded||

T:John Naughton's
M:4/4
L:1/8
R:reel
K:EDor
EFGA BE~E2|GEBE GEDF|EFGA BABc|1 dBAG FDDF:|2 dBAG FDD2||!
e2ed BABd|edef gbaf|~e3d BABc|1 dBAG FDD2:|2 dBAG FDDF||!


T:John Naughton's
T:Eanach Mhic Coilin
M:4/4
L:1/8
R:reel
K:EDor
BEGE DEGA|BEGE d2BA|BEGE DEGA|BGdB A2GA:|!
Beed BAGA|(3Bcd ef gfed|Beed BAGA|(3BAG dB A2GA|!
Beed BAGA|(3Bcd ef ~g3a|bgaf gfed|eBdB A2GA||!

And one jig Kitty Hayes played. Her husband, Josie, used to play this on the flute and named it after the woman he got it from, Nora Lenihan, sister of singer Tom Lenihan of Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay, who played it on the fiddle. It's really a low version of a tune that recorded on a 78 rpm in the US by piper Tom Ennis and fiddler James Morrison. They called it the 'Clare jig' and that's what it's usually known as. Perhaps appropriately so for this thread.


T:Nora Lenihan's
R:double jig
S:Kitty Hayes, 15 sept 2001
M:6/8
L:1/8
K:EDor
BEE cEE|dcd edB|AFE ~D3|FDF AFA|BEE cEE|dcd edB|AFE ~D3|FEE EFA:||
Bcd e2 e|efe edB|AFA d2 d|dfe dBA|Bcd e2 e|efe edB|AFE ~D3|FEE EFA:||

Edited by Peter Laban, 04 June 2017 - 05:02 AM.


#16 Halifax

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 01:23 PM

Peter, I've spent the last days trying to digest your massive missive. I so appreciate the thought you've put into your response. My takeaways from you, I'll get to, but first I'll tell you what I was trying to get from posting my question. As a rank beginner on the concertina who grew up in Boston listening to my parents' Clancy Bros. records, I didn't start to listen to tunes till my 30s and have spent the last 20 years trying to learn the language of them. For instance, I thought I was doing pretty well in that I can instantly tell an Irish tune from a Cape Breton tune or a Down East tune (and then the Quebec styles!). But there is so much more nuance to the music. To your point, some tunes have a life of their own and continue along being played because they are so damned good, while other nameless tunes have faded away.

 

My kids, being brought up as they are in Nova Scotia, have learned to play Cape Breton fiddle. Their teacher, Wendy MacIsaac, taught them a reelGreenfields of Glentownthat she learned from her cousin, Ashley, who learned it from Tommy Peoples. To your point, does that make it a Donegal tune? A Cape Breton tune? I love that the tune itself has a lineage as if it came *through* Tommy Peoples as opposed to simply being composed by him (though Mr. Peoples may see that differently).

 

I was hoping to get a list of tunes that are generally known in Clare, so that I could siphon through them to see which ones spoke to me so I could then ask my teacher (from Clare) to work with me on them. And I was hoping to sort of master the sound of Clare before trying to find my own sound.

 

But maybe, thinking about the response to this thread, it really does make the most sense to keep it simple: learn the tunes that speak to me, the tunes my kids play, and the tunes my pals in the local session playin that order of importance. I will for sure check out the tunes mentioned in this thread, though, because if they are good enough to speak to you and Bob and Jody, and WesleyMann, and RAc, well then, they have achieved some kind of zeitgeist already.

 

Thanks again, so much for your thoughts, musings, and tune ideas!


Edited by Halifax, 09 June 2017 - 01:28 PM.





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